Board votes to lower Oklahoma lawmakers pay

The Oklahoma House of Representatives debates a revenue bill Oct. 25 in at the State Capitol. (KOKH/Anthony West)

All of Oklahoma's 149 state senators and representatives will get a pay cut of 8.8 percent in November 2018 after an independent nine-member panel narrowly voted to approve the reduction.

The Legislative Compensation Board voted 4-3 on Thursday to impose the pay cut effective on the next group of legislators elected next year.

Related: Oklahoma House passes 'cash and cuts' budget bill

Members of the panel are appointees of the governor, speaker of the House and pro tem of the Senate. Several said the decision was a difficult one, but that the total annual compensation for legislators of $62,000 was too generous given the salary of the average Oklahoman or state worker.

The 8.8 percent reduction would shift a legislator's base salary from $38,400 to $35,021. The additional pay for House and Senate leaders also will be reduced.

Gov. Mary Fallin released the following statement on the vote:

“I was surprised by the action of the Board on Legislative Compensation. The board is a constitutionally formed independent panel granted the power to change the pay of lawmakers. Their vote reflects the level of the public's frustration. There are many hardworking legislators who spend more than 40 hours a week outside of regular session representing their constituents. In many cases, they do so at the expense of lost compensation from their normal jobs and time away from their families.”

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